Sunday, 28 October 2007

Fun in the Sun

Hello everyone. It's Sunday night and after a full week and weekend in our new home, it now feels just like that, HOME!

We've been challenged by electronics this week and weekend. Scott managed to have our Internet and phone connected Wednesday and we are still learning to use the phones. Just getting used to new calling codes.

The cable guy says he came but I was here and he never rang the bell. Could be that he rang the neighbors bell? So Friday, when the new TV and stereo were delivered, we just sat and enjoyed the blank screen! Apparently, you can't receive any channels if you do not have cable. It took Scott much longer than normal to set up the TV and Stereo because some of the wires are different and it came with no instructions. After many expletives and hours had gone by, we had a signal! We soon found out there is a difference in US and European formatting for DVDs. Therefore, our DVDs will not play on this new system without some sort of transformer or code breaker which every electronics store in town knows about but no one has!

The boys were so patient with us even though it was a completely frustrating day! They were really looking forward to watching a movie and we could not produce. By the time we figured it out, it was past their bedtime!

Saturday morning, we received our air shipment! Yippee!!! Yahoo! It was like early Christmas presents. They played and played with the toys and didn't want to leave because they finally had some of their familiar things! The boxes also had the blankets from their beds, more pillows, another air mattress and Halloween Costumes. You can see Christopher wasted no time there! Boy, could we settle in now!

The shipment also had the Gamecube in it which the boys were so excited about playing. Even though the voltage should have been low enough to plug it into a travel plug, it sparked and died immediately! DEVASTATION! Our poor boys were now plotting to kill us and adopt a new family. As far as they could tell, we know nothing and we are worthless!

Scott went to the hardware store and the grocery store and returned with hot sauce ingredients. We'd been two weeks without Tex Mex and he could stand it no longer! So, out came the new chopper and hot sauce we soon had! Things were looking up. We also remembered that we had a travel DVD player that would bypass the DVD issue so now we had movies! Success, yes we could accomplish something!

This morning, Scott left for Dallas and we enjoyed sleeping in and another movie. The sun was out though and I was itching to get outside. We found a skateboard park, a great playground and a huge hill with MUD at the bottom. What else could three little boys need? Check out the pictures from the mudslide they created after an hour of running up and down that hill! The boys enjoyed a naked ride home which they thought was hilarious! So fun and it was great to be outside!

We are tired, but had a great first week and weekend in our house! Thank you all for keeping us in your prayers!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Table for 5

What a difference a few days make! We've settled into school a little more and the boys continue to make friends and enjoy the newness. We've had a few tears the last couple of days as reality sets in and the realization that this is not a "holiday" hits us all.

On Tuesday morning, after droping the big boys off at school, Scott, Charlie and I emptied the hotel room of our suitcases and headed to Hatfield Drive. Since our air shipment was still not here (@#$%!!), I then headed to the store for the basics: air mattress (we have one futon mattress from our first trip to Ikea and one bed that is on loan from our landlord), sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, skillet, etc. We were all so thankful to have a little space!

Wednesday, Charlie and I headed to Ikea for a temporay kitchen table because eating on the floor no longer felt like camping! After 3 hours in Ikea (nightmare), I'd made some selections that might make settling in a little easier. Scott has used his trusty new drill to become a skilled Ikea Assembler for the MacNicols.

Just notice the before and after pictures of our kitchen! Doesn't the table make all the difference??? Oh yeah, and the real plates we picked up at Ikea! It's the little things that make us oh so HAPPY! It redefines what's you need vs what you want!

I hope you also noticed our washer and dryer in the kitchen. This house did not come with a dryer, so Scott insisted that we get one right away. Scott was probably scared of what I might do or say without one as I was hanging the 9th load of laundry on the drying rack for the day. I do love the drying rack though. It's just about as old as the house, 1904, and it's on a pulley system. Since the ceilings are so tall, you just hang your laundry on the rack and pull it up to the ceiling. It's approx. 12" x 72". It is also in the kitchen. Tonight, I learned what happens when you forget the laundry on the rack while you are cooking dinner! The boys' freashly laundered uniform shorts now smell like garlic.

Right now, we have the dryer vented out of the window unitl the workman can come and drill a hole in the wall. They said they'll be here sometime next week, maybe the week after. I'm sure the neighbors love the self venting system.

Scott sucessfully set up our phone and internet at home today. It only took about 24 hours, as we just can't seem to figure out how to dial anyone from here. We couldn't call for help because we are still learning how to dial all the different numbers. It's different for mobile, landlines in Glasgow, and landlines elsewhere. It also doesn't help that we have one US mobile phone and one local phone so dialing from each is different. It's super frustrating and I know there is a lesson in patience in it somewhere but boy are we impatient about stuff like that!

One more thing, have you ever tried to feed Scott Nicol and his three growing boys out of a mini-fridge??? I know that I've said that the idea of going to the butcher, baker, cheesemonger and the root and fruit markets everyday was exciting, but until I find those placees, my people are hungry and this tiny fridge isn't filling them up! You should have seen me today. One shopping cart full of groceries and I have crammed it all in only to have them eat half of it for dinner! I'm sure it doesn't help that one row is full of beer!! Anyway, while I was purchasing a vaccum today I figured, what the heck, a drink fridge is a good idea. It will be delivered on Tuesday! Then I can take my time to find the above mentioned markets, right?

More on the joys and frustrations of living abroad soon! Cheers!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

MacNicol instead of McNicol

Well, I owe a big thanks to Elaine at Turbocare because she set us straight about Mc vs Mac. Even though I am a FitzGerald and should have known, Mc is Irish and Mac is Scottish. So we stand corrected. I have changed everything that I can change on the blog to reflect our new Scottish name but can't figure out how to change the actual address. Maybe it will just be a friendly reminder that this is a learning experience for us all and that we are here to learn about the culture! As many of you probably know, you are not supposed to confuse the Scots, Irish and the English. Doing so may bring harm to your family!

So from now on, we are to be called the MacNicols.

Surely, some of our friends knew this as well and were just being nice by not telling!

Monday, 22 October 2007

1st Day at Glasgow Academy

Wow! The boys did so well today! Much better than their parents. I was having typical mommy worries while Scott was having flashbacks to all of the times he started new schools when he was little. We both had tears in our eyes while Ethan eagerly joined his class for the day, Christopher was a little hesitant and Charlie couldn't get into his classroom fast enough!

Ethan had a few shadows (other boys) to show him around and after getting over the uniform realities, had a great day! His favorite parts were Break (recess) and Music (fun teacher that played scary Halloween music). His class had just finished written reports on Famous French People and some of their presentations were today. He enjoyed hearing about the man that invented Braille.

Christopher was eager to go so his uniform did not bother him like I thought it would. He also had a buddy that explained that the bathroom doors were so old they were pure "rubbish"! His highlight for the day was break time which is outdoor playtime in the concrete courtyard with a snack. He said it was so unusual that they do not have playgrounds like we have in the US but he enjoyed "skippy rope" and other fun activities with his new friends. His class (6 year olds) have no center time but instead sit at desks all day long while in the classroom! This might take some getting used to.

Charlie went with us to drop off at 9am but had to wait until the afternoon session of nursery school before he could head to his classroom. He begged from 11-1 to go to his new school. He had little patience for his mommy by this time! When we arrived, Charlie marched right into the classroom like he'd been there all year and never looked back. I had to call him twice just to get a picture of the first day in his new class. The other pictures of Charlie from the first day are from after school. His teachers (I have no idea what their names are (partially the accent but also the sheer number of people we met today)) asked me to come back after an hour and a half today just in case he didn't settle in. I really had to keep myself from laughing! I agreed even though I was really looking forward to the 3 hours only to find him reluctant to leave so soon! His teachers said he could stay longer tomorrow! His favorite part of his time today was painting.

Scott went to the office today to take care of some personal business (setting up phone, cable, broadband) and also to touch base with his new co-workers. I think he really just needed to get away! Can you blame him?? I need an office.

Really, the first day of school was terrific and we are all thankful to get back into a routine.

We are moving to our new home tomorrow and are so excited about being out of this tiny hotel! The staff sure enjoyed the boys this morning at breakfast in their uniforms.

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. Until later, one grateful and proud mum

Sunday, 21 October 2007

First week's adventures and observations

We've had a good first week. We are still in the hotel, sharing one room, three beds and the floor. No such thing as adjoining rooms in Scotland as far as we could tell. The boys rotate turns between the 2 twin beds and the floor. Usually little Charlie gets relocated to the floor even if it's not his turn. Last night he woke saying, "this is too comfy, I can't sleep!" I think we know what he meant to say, poor little guy.

We are anxious to move to our new place and think our air shipment will be here tomorrow or Tuesday.

This week we:

  • adjusted to the time change

  • practiced driving on the wrong side of the road

  • tried to parallel park on the wrong side of the road (I am still working on this as our minivan is the largest car in Scotland!)

  • ate lots of pizza

  • went to the Botanical Gardens (lots of room to run and play and one minute from home)

  • went to the Stirling Castle and the Old Town Jail

  • braved Ikea with the whole family

  • navigated the grocery store 2 times

  • bought school uniforms

  • played in our new backyard

  • bought a drill and a dryer

Things we miss: family, friends, Missy, zip loc bags, ice, chips and hot sauce, any size other than "WEE", a table in our kitchen (anyone see a steamliner chugging along?)

Things we love: cooler weather, walking tons, energy in the city, old architecture, new accents and vocabulary, biscuits (not southern style!), great coffee, our new attic playroom, friendly Scotsmen asking "how long are you here on holiday?"

Off to bed, it's a school night!

And they're off....

Our departure for our opportunity abroad was finally here! It was bittersweet as leaving family and friends was harded than we could have imagined but we were ready to start our adventure. After the crazy week preceeding our departure, getting on a plane for an overnight flight with three children seemed like a relaxing day. We had an uneventful journey even though it was pouring rain in Dallas as our plane took off.

The boys were excited as we were finally going somewhere! To Scotland or bust.

We arrived in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday morning, October 16th to sunny skies and chilly temperatures. We hailed 2 large cabs after waiting in the Q for 20 minutes and headed to our new home with our 14 suitcases. The boys were excited to meet the family living below as they have 2 girls, Jessica (4) and Georgia (18 mos.), and they were playing in the back yard when we arrived. All 3 boys quickly claimed their rooms in their new home and immediately found the attic playroom. The house became a home instantly with laughter, noise and three stinky boys to fill the space! Now living above another family will be a new challenge as I'm sure you all will agree. With no furniture in the house, every little noise echoes throughout the house and my new mantra is, SHHHHHHHHHH! Scott and I just tried to keep our eyes open and the boys in the yard so we could get through that first jet lagged day. More on the first couple of days soon.......Putting the boys to bed as their first day of school is tomorrow!